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The Stations of the Cross for TeensThe First Station: Jesus is Condemned to death
There you stand before the crowd after being beaten. You never deny yourself, yet humbly accept the punishment given to you by those who had witnessed your miracles. It’s easy to look at this scene now and think, ‘How could they have accused you and condemned you to death? All you did was love every person you met.’ Yet they are not alone in their condemnation of you. PauseHow often do I ignore you at school in the person no one wants to talk to? How often do my words condemn you in the way that I speak about others? It was not only the Jews and Pontius Pilate who condemned you, but I stand next to them shouting just as loud, ‘Crucify Him!’PauseJesus, forgive me for the ways in which I condemn and pierce others with my words and actions. Help me to love like you and to learn from your example.
The Second Station: Jesus carries the Cross
By now you have endured a sleepless night, betrayal by your friends, and a beating that is too horrible to fully imagine. You’ve been whipped, stripped, and spit on by countless faces, some of whom last week treated you as royalty as you entered the city. And now, they hand you a cross to carry. The weight of it is far more than any number of pounds we can figure. For in carrying the
cross, you carry the weight of our sins.PauseHow often do I forget that you have carried the load for me? How often do I try to carry things on my own, not allowing you to help me? It was not only the sins of the world that you carried; it was my sin, my selfishness, my pride, my anger. Each added more weight to the load. And it was not only
my sin you carried but also my burdens, my worries, my fears, my sadness, my insecurities. Each you
carried step by step up towards Golgotha, the place of the Skull.PauseJesus, help me not to forget the load that you carried for me. Give me the strength and the courage to let go of those things that separate me from you.
The Third Station: Jesus Falls for the First time As you walk through the narrow streets, every movement, every jolt burns and reopens your wounds. The pain along with the weight of the cross becomes too much and you fall. In boxing, when a fighter falls and is too beaten to continue, the fight is stopped by the referee. Yet, there is no one
there to stop the battle that you fight for us. Even though you know what still lies ahead, you do not
stop and somehow find the strength to continue.
Pause How many times have I fallen in my walk? Too many to count, I’m sure. So many times when I fall I don’t feel like getting back up and trying again. There are too many temptations that I am faced with that feel too fun and easy to do because so many around me are doing them. PauseJesus, help me to remember your courage and perseverance when you fell. Give me the courage to get back up when I fall. Help me remember that it is worth it to live as you lived.
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The Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Mother Amid all the shouts and jeers from the crowd that move like a wave in your mind as you struggle to remain conscious, one voice stands out. At first it is so faint that you wonder if it is real, but then as
your eyes meet and you see her face you are not surprised that she is there for you. She has always been there for you. Her ‘Yes’ to the Father has been a light in the darkness. And now, here in your
darkest hour, she is there.PauseThere are so many times when I feel alone in my struggles. It seems that no one understands what I am going through, especially my parents; but I realize they must. How many times have I hidden things from my parents out of fear of what they would say, or what trouble I would be in when all they want is to love me? PauseJesus, help me to remember that I am never alone in my struggles. Help me to see my parents as you saw yours. Help me know their love for me and when things are hard between us, help me to remember the light of your Mother in my life.
The Fifth Station: Simon helps Jesus carry his Cross
The soldiers who had beaten you all day had what appears to be a moment of compassion. Yet instead, their selfish motives override their opportunity for charity. They only want to follow their
orders to get you up to the place where you will be crucified. How beaten you look that they decide
to grab Simon a Cyrenian out of the crowd to help you carry the cross. He follows behind you, walking in your steps, helping you move forward. You press on, knowing that the worst is yet to come. PauseHow often do I pass up an opportunity to help someone in need? Do I let what others may think of me stop me from reaching out? PauseJesus, open my ears to hear the ways that you call me to serve. Help me follow Simon’s example of helping others. Help me to know what it means to be a true and faithful servant. Pause
The Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
By now the thorns cut so deeply into your head that even seeing where you should step next is almost impossible. Up to this point all who approach you, other than your mother, either shout at you or spit in your face. As Veronica approaches, she walks differently than the others. As she reaches out her hands and wipes your face with her cloth, suddenly her face of compassion becomes clear. No words are necessary, both your eyes say it all. For in that moment, your dignity as a man is restored.
PauseHow many times have I forgotten that each person is made in your image and likeness and therefore deserves my respect? Do I make others objects of my pleasure and ignore their humanity? Veronica courageously stepped forward and dared to treat you differently than everyone else. Could I do the same?PauseJesus, help me to see your presence in others. Give me the courage to follow Veronica’s example of treating others with love even when no one else does.
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The Seventh Station: Jesus falls the second time.
The soldiers are enraged at you for falling this time. They can’t understand how Simon’s help is not enough. In their anger they hit you again and again before they remember that you have to be alive to be crucified. The beating stops, but the shouts and taunts become louder and harsher.
At this moment you can stop this! You are the Messiah and have the power to reveal yourself to everyone there. But you know that it would not fulfill all that is written about you. You know that
you must be faithful to all of the Father’s promises to His people. Remembering your love and your
faithfulness you get up, and now with your wounds full of dirt and each step embedding it deeper, you keep going. PauseHow many times have I failed to follow through on my promises? Or worse yet, how often have I lied even to people I care about? Do I remember your faithfulness even when I fail?
PauseJesus, help me to believe in your faithfulness and love for me. Give me the grace to follow through on my word to others. Help me to be a person of integrity.
The Eighth Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.
Their wailing sounds like a funeral. They cry and weep as if you are already dead. While air still passes through your lungs and your heart still beats, to them, you are dead. They know you are on your way to be crucified and because of the beating you have endured you already look like you
should not be breathing at all. Yet in this moment consumed by death, you speak words of life and say, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me.’ Pause Do I listen to your words in my life? How often have the things I’ve watched or listened led me away from you? Have I allowed the gospel of Life to reign in my heart?
PauseJesus, help me to listen to your words of life. Show me ways that I can put you first.
The Ninth Station: Jesus falls for the third time. Again you fall, this time from sheer exhaustion. Only your will presses you forward while your body refuses. How difficult it must be to be you, fully God and fully man. God knows that this has to
be finished and that it is not yet complete. Man feels the excruciating pain and every bone in your
body wants to stop right here and move no further. Somehow both join together and you muster the strength to get up. You vow to not fall again because now you can see the place they are leading you to. You know the end is close and so you press on. Pause How many times have I let my flesh win over my spirit? How often have I chosen to sin rather than to
follow your way? Was it my sin that became too heavy that you fell this third time? Pause
Jesus, help me to follow your ways. Help me remember your victory over my sin. Give me the grace to recognize when I sin and the desire to sin no more.
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The Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of his garments. In some ways to get to this point is a relief because you know this is almost over. In other ways it is terrifying because you know the worst pain possible for man to endure is still waiting for you. By now your bloodied cuts have dried into your garments, because of this they act as a layer of skin for you since so little of your own remains. As the soldiers strip you bear it is not the nakedness that is painful but rather the vicious tearing of your skin. The cuts that had closed, now reopen and once again a river of blood runs all over your body. You are stripped of your dignity as a man, for even animals are given a swifter, less painful death. PauseHow often have I judged others by the way they look or what they are wearing? Do I find my own
self-worth and self-identity by the clothes I wear or the way I look? Pause
Jesus, help me to look past the outside of others. Help me not to judge them by how they look or what they wear. Help me to find my self worth and identity in you.
The Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the cross. Lying down on wood is not foreign to you. The first place you were laid when you came into this
world was a wooden manger. There you were laid in love and now it is out of love that you lay here on this wooden cross. The soldiers pull your right arm out beside you and then horrific pain flows
through your entire body. The nail pierces not only your hand but also your whole body. The soldier pounds it in, only stopping to wipe your blood off his own face. Again the nail is driven into your other hand and the pain jolts your entire body. Pain shoots up your legs as they nail your feet. PauseIn reflection, I am angered by the soldiers. I can’t understand why they are doing this to you and
yet what is hardest to realize is that not only am I in the crowd watching all of this, but I’m also one of them nailing you to the cross. How many times has my sin become a strike of the nail into your body? How often do I turn away from your mercy?
PauseJesus, I’m sorry for nailing you to the cross with my own sin. Help me to seek your forgiveness and mercy for the times that I sin.
The Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the Cross.
Above your head is the inscription, ‘King of the Jews’. As you use every last ounce of life left in you to lift your body so that you can speak, you do not look the part. Yet, every word out of your mouth is one of love, truly from another kingdom. The faces of all humanity must flash before your eyes as
one by one you recount whom you are doing this for. And finally you say, ‘Father, into your hands I
commend my spirit...it is finished.’ You breathe your last and it looks as though this is the end.
Jesus, help me never forget your love for me. Help me to know that you died for me. Fill me with
comfort in knowing that I never suffer anything you don’t understand.
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The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is taken down from the Cross.
The first arms that held you in this world are also the last. Your mother was told a sword would
pierce her heart the day she presented you as an infant to the Father. Now as she holds your body
that is mangled beyond recognition she sees not only the man she now holds, but also the child she held and her heart is pierced. Your comfort to her will come but in this moment she has only the Father to be with her in her sorrow and pain. All hope seems gone.
PauseHow many times have I lost hope in you? How often have I doubted your ability to be God in my life over all things?
PauseJesus, help me to trust in you. Help me to place all of my hope in you and give me peace in knowing that you are Lord over all things.
The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is placed in the tomb.
You are laid to rest by Joseph of Arimethea, Mary Magdalene, Mary your mother and a few other women. As your body is anointed, Mary Magdalene remembers your eyes penetrating her heart. Tears stream down her face along with the others there as they too remember your love. They wrap your body in clean linens and lay it in a new tomb. The stone is rolled over the entrance and now it surely is the end. Up to this point, death is final. While those you have lived with, laughed with and
cried with are in their heightened sorrow believing all is over, you are conquering sin and death. PauseHow many times has death felt like the end? When I’ve lost a loved one it can be so hard to remember your victory. How often do I miss the opportunities to say, “I love you’ to those special people in my life? Do my family and friends know how I feel about them?
PauseJesus, help me always remember that death is not the end. Give me the strength to say the words, ‘I love you’ to those people in my life that I do love. Help me to love every person not just in words but also with my actions.
Jesus, I love you, I need you, and I trust you. Amen.
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Examination of Conscience
1. I am the Lord your God, you shall have no
other Gods besides me.
Did I fail to love God, to make God first in my life, to
thank Him, trust Him, love Him as He deserves? Did I fail to pray? Have I doubted or denied my faith? Was I careless in saying my prayers? Do I give God time everyday in prayer? Do I make a god out of my work, my possessions, or my image in the eyes of others so that these rule my life instead of God? Am I angry toward God because of illness or misfortune? Have I been involved with magic, horoscopes, Ouija boards, or fortune telling?
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord
your God in vain.
Did I curse or swear? Did I use God’s name in vain, lightly, carelessly, by blasphemy? Have I used foul language or jokes? In conversation, have I passively listened to slander and to jokes demeaning to the Church, or God’s authority?
3. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation? Did I leave Mass early without a good reason? Have I gone to communion at least once a year? Did I receive Holy Communion in a state of serious sin? Have I been to confession recently? Have I allowed myself to become so dominated by my work and chores that I have not set aside Sunday for spiritual and family activities?
4. Honor your father and your mother.
Did I honor and obey my parents? Did I respect my brothers and sisters? Did I respect others with lawful authority, especially teachers? Have I talked back? Did I fail to help at home or to spend time with my family? Do I blame my parents for my own shortcomings?
5. You shall not kill.
Did I give in to feelings of anger or jealousy? Did I keep hatred in my heart? Have I ever struck anyone in anger, intending to injure the person? Did I fight, give a bad example or cause scandal? Have I
abused alcohol or drugs? Have I had or in any way permitted or encouraged abortion? Have I thought about suicide? Have I killed someone? Have I killed someone with gossip or what I said?
6. You shall not commit adultery.
Did I consent to impure glances? Passionate kisses? Sinful touches? Did I give my mind over to lustful thoughts or fantasies? Was I immodest in dress or behavior? Did I look at pornography, impure books, magazines or videos? Am I guilty of impurity with myself or with others? Do I avoid laziness, gluttony, idleness and the occasions of impurity?
7. You shall not steal.
Have I stolen what is not mine? What or how much? Did I return it or make up for what I have stolen? Have I cheated on tests or homework? Did I waste time at work? Have I been extravagant in my manner of life, to the neglect of the poor at home and abroad?
8. You shall not bear false witness against your
Have I lied or gossiped? Talked about another person behind their back? Do I always tell the truth? Am I sincere? Did I reveal secrets that should have been kept confidential? In any of my previous confessions,
did I lie to or deliberately conceal something from the priest? Am I critical, negative or uncharitable in my talk? Have I injured the reputation of others by speaking about their failures and sins with no desire or intention to help them? Have I condoned prejudice and hatred toward people of other nationalities, races or religions?
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
Have I consented to impure thoughts? Have I encouraged them by stares, curiosity or impure conversations? Did I neglect to control my imagination or desire of other people? Have I rejected my family in my heart, wishing to distance myself emotionally and personally from them?
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
Is my heart greedy? Am I jealous of what another has? Am I envious of others because I don’t have what they have? Do I habitually compare myself with others? Am I moody or gloomy? Do I work, study and keep busy to counter idle thoughts? Am I critical, negative, or uncharitable in my thoughts of others? Is my heart set on earthly possessions or on the treasures in Heaven?
Act of Contrition
O my God, I am sorry for having offended you. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have offended you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin
no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His
name, my God, have mercy.Amen